Miller Children’s Hospital Patients Enjoy the Beach Without Leaving the Hospital

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A patient and his firefighter escort go over a few game rules with a pirate from the Discovery Arts organization.

A patient and his firefighter escort go over a few game rules with a pirate from the Discovery Arts organization.

On Friday, Aug. 9, patients from Miller Children’s Hospital Long Beach, who are too sick to go to the beach, had the opportunity to “kick back” and enjoy the surf as community members and volunteers brought the beach to them during the hospital’s annual Beach Day Carnival.

Patients from all throughout the hospital gathered in a giant conference room, which was transformed into an undersea oasis, where they were able to enjoy their day and relax for a few hours while playing games and doing several beach-themed activities. Patients from each area of the hospital were able to mingle and enjoy each other’s company.

Every patient was escorted throughout Beach Day by firefighters from the Long Beach Fire Department, who were there to play with the children and keep watch over the event. In addition to the firefighters, volunteers from the Signal Hill Police Department, Make-A-Wish Foundation, Aquarium of the Pacific, Discovery Arts and various other organizations were there to make the beach experience come alive for patients.

A bubble artist from Fun and Discovery Entertainment encapsulates a young  Miller Children’s patient in a giant bubble as part of his show.

A bubble artist from Fun and Discovery Entertainment encapsulates a young
Miller Children’s patient in a giant bubble as part of his show.

As dozens of firefighters took patients to different booths, the kids made picture frames, played ring toss, had their faces painted and even took pictures with Ariel from the Little Mermaid. Before the event came to a close, patients experienced a bubble performance by Fun and Discovery Entertainment, where the performer was able to make giant bubbles and even let a few kids step inside a bubble.

“I always look forward to seeing the excitement on our patient’s faces as they first enter Beach Day,” says Rita Goshert, child life manager, Miller Children’s. “Being able to visit the ‘beach’ and play games that they don’t normally get to play is so exciting for them and in turn rewarding for our staff and volunteers.”

In an effort to help make the hospital experience more positive for children of all ages, child life specialists from Miller Children’s coordinate events, such as Beach Day, to help children adjust to their hospital stay and promote the continuity of normal, daily childhood activities.

The award-winning Child Life Program at Miller Children’s has provided nearly 35 years of patient and family-centered care to patients, ages 0 – 21, offering developmental, educational and emotional support. Child life specialists plan individualized and group programs that create a routine environment for patients and promote a sense of stability within the hospital.

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